|International Business Management|
Does culture influence this aspect of managerial behavior? Yes. Culture's influence is greatest when we are searching for suitable candidates. We are so focused on job descriptions and resumes that we do not think about basic suitability. As you scan a resume, what type of information do you expect to find? Probably something like, "Managed staff that grew from eight to 13 professionals; remained within budget while exceeding Amalgamated Widget's business objectives by establishing new accounts with nine Fortune 100 companies" The point is that the suitability question in American culture is answered very largely by reference to a person's individual achievements.
The American manager attained a victory for diversity that is hardly worth mentioning by our standards but is significant by Japanese standards. First, he chose a modest goal (a small promotion for one woman). Second, he knew the local culture well and recognized the limits of its tolerance for rapid social change. Finally, he used local methods (consensus building) in trying to encourage his local colleagues to accept change. This manager had a cautious, thoughtful approach to the introduction of diversity-related practices abroad.
If your company is considering the deployment of its diversity initiatives abroad, we suggest that it is wise to look before leaping. In our research project, we learned that achievement is a value that works well for us. But business people in other cultures have other values that have worked well for them, and they are likely to resent us if we impose our values and ideas on them.
... » » » MORE
Expressing Feelings and Emotions in International Business
Another way in which cultures differ is the extent to which a person's
speech and expression is guided by emotions or by rational thought. In
the United States, we call the first "subjective" and the second
"objective." The norm--among male professionals if not necessarily among
all other American demographic groups--is that it is best to keep the two
separated in important business-related contexts. We Americans are
reasonably comfortable with expressing our feelings in many social
situations, but we tend to believe that, when at work, the consummate
professional or manager is objective, dispassionate, and self-possessed.
"Unprofessional" is the criticism we use for people who become vehement
or upset on the job. A reason given by some American men for not wanting
women in business or politics is that "women are too emotional."
... » » » MORE
In Riding the Waves of Culture, Fons Trompernaars tells the story of two telecommunications companies trying to win a major contract with the Mexican government. The Americans, whose product was technologically superior, had a presentation that was tightly organized, fast-paced, and full of high energy. Their plans included leaving Mexico City on the last flight of the evening. The French arrived two days later. Their agenda was loosely conceived, but they did have an idea of the goals they hoped to attain during their two-week visit. In their formal presentation, they emphasized the history of their company and the fact that it had done business with the Mexican government in the 1930s. The French got the business. It was the relationship, past and present, that had reality and the power to convince, not the technological quality of the product.
... » » » MORE